Larry Stone: Mariners should keep Brandon League

Jul 14, 2011, 6:25 PM | Updated: 6:47 pm
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Mariners closer Brandon League was an All-Star after notching 23 saves, second-best in the AL. (AP photo)

By 710Sports.com staff

A four-game sweep by the Angels that dropped the Mariners to 7.5 games out of first place has turned the discussion from potential acquisitions to the tradeable assets on the current roster.

Brandon League’s name has been mentioned as one player who could be of interest to a contender, as such teams are often looking to bolster their bullpens before the trade deadline. But Larry Stone of The Seattle Times doesn’t think the Mariners should deal their All-Star closer, a contention that’s based on the perceived weak market for League’s services.

“I am not sure you would get much for Brandon League even with the year he is having,” Stone said Thursday on the Kevin Calabro Show. “Francisco Rodriguez got traded, you’ve got Heath Bell on the market, the closer in Kansas City, [Joakim] Soria, and these are All-Star, proven closers that are going to be available.

“[League] would be the third among those guys, so I don’t know how much you would get even for Brandon League.”

League, 28, rebounded from a brutal stretch in May to notch 23 saves in the first half of the season, one off the American League lead. He was an All-Star for the first time in his career.

Stone thinks that even with hard-throwing right-handed relievers Josh Lueke and Dan Cortes — among others — waiting in the minors, the Mariners would have a tough time replacing League, who’s under contract for another year.

“The bullpen has been the strength of this team and League was an All-Star,” he said, “so I am not too sure if that is a wise thing to do.”

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